Category Archives: Church
I find it interesting, in reading through these prayers in the Book of Common Prayer, that they deal with so may different issues and occasions. For sure, there are the regular church holidays and church functions such as baptism and marriage, but they go far beyond such matters. The one for today is a prayer for world evangelization. It’s not just “Lord please evangelize the world somehow,” but a prayer to God to send us, if He so desires, to be used in this great task to which Christ commissioned us.
This would be a good prayer to pray on a daily basis:Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and all the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Epitaphs are interesting reading. Check out these ones:
Or these, on a more serious note:Winston Churchill: I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. Cecil Rhodes: So much to do, so little done. Epitaph for the unknown soldier, by W.H. Auden: To save your world you asked this man to die: Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?
Epitaphs are something I’ve thought about often over the last few months, especially since the death of my cousin in November. These short sentences, graven on cold stone, sum up the whole of one person’s life and death. For sure, more could often and is often said. Biographies are written, journals are produced, letters are read, but an epitaph forgoes the words and aims for the meaning. In one sentence, the legacy of a life is stated, without frills, in sometimes shocking terms.
In my opinion, the best epitaph ever is found in Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Straightforward, unassuming, and incredibly convicting. Few words ever summarized life fulfillment any better, but few people really want them on their tombstone.
Why not? Well, we (I included) want something more. We want some great accomplishment, the thing we did which influenced history, the lives we saved, the book we wrote, the culture we created, not the daily discipline of godliness. After all, it seems like everyone is doing that. The Bible tells us to walk with God so we do, nothing special there. It’s almost as if we relegate Enoch’s life to the level of Mr. Rhodes: Too bad he didn’t do more.
This attitude is going to need to change. In myself first of all. Such a change goes against much of my previous intuition, especially considering that I am about to graduate from college. We all know college graduates are supposed to go out and change the world, right? Anything less would be shameful. No, we must do something great.
In the biblical view, this does not seem to be the case. Look at Micah 6:8, we all know that one. Look at Matthew 4:19. Look at Revelation 2-3, where love for God and devotion to Him is placed above all else. The list goes on. God seems to be far more concerned with our faithfulness to Him and our desire to know Him than with any other thing we could possibly do, even for those who have already put their faith in Christ. Thus, one who evangelizes thousands has nothing over the one who only ends up witnessing to his next-door neighbors, if both are walking with God. The megachurch pastor has nothing over the pastor of a rural congregation who shepherds a tiny flock if both are walking with God. The one who dies on a foreign field has nothing over the one who stays behind to hold the support line if both are walking with God.
You see, the second part of Enoch’s epitaph will happen to all of us. At some point, we will be not (at least not on earth), for God will take us. Whether or not we walk with God is another subject entirely. It is here we must place our effort. Nothing else really matters.
has shed the light of knowledge upon the world.
those who had been star-worshipers
learned through a star to worship you,
O Sun of Justice,
and to recognize in you the one who rises
and who comes from on high.
O Lord, glory to you! - Feast of the Nativity Liturgy
for their Justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their Saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born. - St. Augustine O God, who hast caused this holy night to shine
with the illumination of the true Light:
Grant us, we beseech thee,
that as we have known the mystery of that Light upon earth,
so may we also perfectly enjoy him in heaven;
where with thee and the Holy Spirit
he liveth and reigneth, one God,
in glory everlasting. Amen - Anglican Book of Common Prayer
Sometimes the theology found in Christmas/Advent songs is incredibly amazing. Singing them is like reading a theology textbook on a diet (i.e., concise yet profound). The songwriters of earlier times certainly put some thought and solid scriptural principles into many of their songs. Take a look at this one:O come, Redeemer of mankind, appear,
Thee with full hearts the virgin born we greet;
Let every age with rapt amazement hear
That wondrous birth which for our God is meet. Not by the will of man, or mortal seed,
But by the Spirit’s breathed mysterious grace
The Word of God became our flesh indeed,
And grew a tender plant of human race. Lo! Mary’s virgin womb its burden bears;
Nor less abides her virgin purity;
In the King’s glory see our nature shares;
Here in His temple God vouchsafes to be. From His bright chamber, virtue’s holy shrine
The royal Bridegroom cometh to the day;
Of twofold substance, human and divine,
As giant swift, rejoicing on His way. Forth from His Father to the world He goes,
Back to the Father’s face His way regains,
Far down to souls beneath His glory shows,
Again at God’s right hand victorious reigns. With the eternal Father equal, Thou,
Girt with our flesh dost triumph evermore,
Strengthening our feeble bodies here below
With endless grace from Thine own living store. How doth Thy lowly manger radiant shine!
On the sweet breath of night new splendor grows;
So may our spirits glow with faith divine,
Where no dark cloud of sin shall interpose. All praise and glory to the Father be,
All praise and glory to His only Son,
All praise and glory, Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Both now, and while eternal ages run. - Ambrose of Milan